That Stupid New Law


Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has signed into law a horribly written bill that would allow police to stop and question anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally. Now in the past they could only verify your status if you were, say, pulled over or otherwise being questioned. This new bill lets them, in theory, stop someone just walking along the street and say, essentially, “Your papers, please.”

To say this is bad bill is to grossly understate things. It’s also a bill that’s not going to make it through the Supreme Court, who will throw it out for the piece of garbage that it is. In the process, Arizona is going to spend millions of dollars we don’t have trying to enforce and defend this law.

Illegal immigration is a very complex and sometimes messy issue. I’ve written about it before, and still stand by everything I said in my article. We need to find a real way to keep people from coming here illegally, do something positive about those already here, and expand the numbers we allow to come in legally. Cute little stunts like this one do nothing to help the situation, and I look forward to the day this law is crushed.

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12 Responses to “That Stupid New Law”

  1. SkyWayMan Says:

    The main reason we have a huge problem with illegal immigration is the very high bar set at the Federal level to legal immigration. Especially high for immigrants from México. What ends up happening at the local level is people look the other way and pass the buck up the chain saying it’s a Federal responsibility. Democrats pander to this demographic for votes as their children are often legal. Republicans know this demographic is a source of cheap labor for small business they champion. So nothing happens and anger builds as more high profile crime happens from illegal immigrants. My Great Grandfather came to this country from México 20 years before the great depression. The immigration laws tightened during the depression. My mother told me he was never a citizen but he had to register each year at the Post Office to stay here. The world is quite a bit different now and we should have some standards for legal immigration, but I feel the bar is far to high to be practical. That being said looking the other way is not an option. Hopefully the President will work with both parties to enact a program that lowers the bar to a realistic level to allow for legal immigration. This can not be done without securing our borders and enforcing our laws. I do not doubt that the vast majority here illegaly would like to work towards legal status. Most illegal immigrants love our country. It would be easier to go after the criminal element who care nothing for our laws if this were done. Unfortunately I feel any effort will stall like President Bush’s Guest Worker program. That had an unrealistic expectation that workers would return to their home country. Or it would pander purely toward Democratic interests since it probably wouldn’t need Republican support.

    • Pied Type Says:

      I respectfully disagree. Our huge problem with illegal immigration is not our high bar to legal immigration. It’s the high number of immigrants who choose to ignore U.S. law. The burden is on immigrants to obey our existing law, whatever it may be, not on us to accommodate immigrants. Unless and until the U.S. changes its immigration law, it is the responsibility of immigrants to obey the law.

      It’s a terrifically complex problem, made worse by a highly emotional, extremely polarized citizenry and decades of lax law enforcement that has allowed some 12 million (?) illegal immigrants to come/stay here. I honestly don’t know what the answer is, but until it is found, the bottom line must always be to obey the law.

      • Chris Says:

        Well, the millions who are here illegally are here to stay. Realistically there’s no way to get rid of them that’s not quite unsavory. Better to find a way to stabilize their status without granting them citizenship.

      • Pied Type Says:

        I like the idea of sort sort of stabilized status. Beats the hell out of blanket amnesty and citizenship.

      • Chris Says:

        Yeah, basically in my idea they’d get to stay here legally, pay taxes, not be exploited, etc, but would never, ever become citizens. It’s the price they’d pay for breaking the law.

      • Pied Type Says:

        This I could live with. First, of course, we’d have to seal the border. Otherwise we’d cause an abrupt surge in immigration and find ourselves stabilizing 40 million instead of 12-20 million.

  2. michaeleriksson Says:

    The immigration issue aside, this law is a very disturbing idea. This is behaviour expected in dictatorships and police states, not in a country which ostensible values the rights and freedom of the individual. To make it worse, we seem to have a clear global trend towards more Big-Brothery countries.

    • Chris Says:

      No, I think we have a trend globally to more freedom overall. I think we also have a global paranoia about security and those two things are at odds. I think in the long run freedom will still win out, though. Historically it always has in the end.

      • arthurthepanther Says:

        Keep in mind that ‘always has’ does not equal ‘always will’. I’m not saying ‘prepare, for the end times are nigh’ – because I’m not an idiot.

        What I AM saying is that freedom and equality are found in largest measure where citizens are most vigilant in protecting personal freedoms.

        In other words, don’t be complacent. Be vigilant. Damnit.

  3. Bryan Says:

    Interesting article, but you got the law wrong. Fixing your error makes your opening statement read more like this (changed word in ALLCAPS)
    “Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has signed into law a horribly written bill that would REQUIRE police to stop and question anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally.”

    There isn’t any choice given to cops in the matter. If they suspect someone of being illegal, the law says they have to question them. It’s not an option.
    But in fairness, the law says that there should me more reason to stop them than that. But we all know how easy it is to toss extra charges on top (“obstruction of justice” anyone?) so this law will most likely lead to a lot of profiling.

    Even worse, isn’t it?

  4. Chris Says:

    Slate has an interesting idea to resolve this. Take a look here: http://www.slate.com/id/2254806/


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